Film Streams, for the Uninitiated


James Knowles

Located close to home, Film Streams’ Dundee Theater is a stylish and convenient place for UNO students to relax with a movie. Photo by Andrew Smith

For students seeking out a cultured experience in Omaha that won’t demolish their bank accounts, Film Streams is the perfect option. The artsy, community-minded film nonprofit is loved by many students across the city for its monthly student nights, where your student ID will earn you a free ticket on the first Monday of each month.

Even if you miss student night, Film Streams always offers a student discount and charges no fees for online ticket orders. With two locations and a robust online presence, the nonprofit is ready to meet you, dear college student, wherever you’re at.

“Young audiences are the lifeblood of the arts,” says Patrick Kinney, Director of Marketing at Film Streams. “It’s important for the future of the organization and for the cultural environment of the city to cultivate these new audiences.”

Dundee Theater

Less than a mile from UNO’s Dodge campus, Film Streams’ Dundee theater is an accessible and refined option for film-going students seeking a change of pace from the more bombastic films and typical feel of the nearby Aksarben Cinema.

The Dundee theater is notable not just for what it has to offer, but for its history as an Omaha mainstay and the city’s oldest surviving movie theater. It was first opened almost a century ago in 1925, before sound technology was available. Over the decades, all manner of films have shone from its projector. Since the theater’s opening, a majority of Omaha residents have most likely driven by its doors many times. In 2013, those doors were closed indefinitely for planned renovations that almost never came. Yet after a change in ownership, the theater opened once again with a host of stylish renovations and the Film Streams logo front and center.

Today, the theater offers more than just great films to see on the big screen. Just past the ticket booth lies a store called Katie’s Video, featuring several bookshelves filled with film literature, excellent movies from all around the world (courtesy of the Criterion Collection) and assorted merchandise. A little farther and the room opens up for Lola’s Cafe, a polished yet relaxed dining spot that serves from breakfast to dinner.

Ruth Sokolof Theater

Though it’s not as close to campus as the Dundee location, the Ruth Sokolof Theater still has plenty to offer students. Situated in North Downtown, its immediate neighbors include Rally Coffee Co. and popular music venue The Slowdown. Bolder readers may combine movie night and a concert into a spectacular evening on the town. If you’re looking for a safer option to pair with a movie, travel less than a mile south to find the Old Market, where shopping, fine dining and a historic atmosphere await.

The theater is worth travelling to on its own merit alone. Like the Dundee theater, it hosts its own unique lineup of films in its recently remodelled 206-seat and 96-seat theaters. I myself have travelled for these showings many times, from recent Oscar-winner “Parasite” to classics like “The Sound of Music.”

An Online Alternative

Of course, between long study sessions and whatever other stresses you might have in your life, a drive to the theater might be a little too much to ask—but fear not! Even in the comfort of your home, Film Streams has you covered. Introduced as a unique way of dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, Film Streams @Home brings the movies to you.

The streaming site offers a curation of films up to Film Streams’ normal standards, without the limitation of just a few screens of variation that the real-life locations bring. Best of all, student night applies here too! If you’re signed up for the student newsletter, a code for 48-hour free access to a movie will be deposited in your email account at the start of ever month.

Even though it was designed with the pandemic in mind, and the light at the end of that tunnel is beginning to appear, Film Streams @Home will be operating for the foreseeable future.

“We really liked it so much that it’s going to continue into the post-vaccine era,” Kinney says. Film Streams @Home is just one of the ways that the nonprofit reaches out to the community, beyond any one demographic.

“It’s a really great way for us to reach people with our programming around the world, but also people in Omaha who may have accessibility issues. This is a way for us to serve them, to share the art that we curate with an even larger audience.”